Marion Mayor Uses Tools to Prep Residents for AlabamaWorks! Success Plus Initiative

By: Mayor Dexter Hinton
City of Marion

When I was elected in late 2016 as mayor of Marion, I knew there were certain areas in which our town needed to improve. One was education and work preparedness for those who did not want to attend a four-year college. We had gaps that needed to be filled.

As an Industrial Maintenance and Robotics Instructor at the Career Center in Greene County, I know what resources are available to assist those seeking a job or a skills education. When people come to the center, our team has a plethora of tests, assessments, job listings, resume-building sessions and other items at our disposal to help folks get the right position or training that matches their needs or abilities.

You can read the entire guest column at Yellowhammer, the Alabama Political and the Selma Times-Journal.

Mayor of Marion

SAWDC AlabamaWorks! Board of Directors Hires Dr. Josh Duplantis as Executive Director

Dr. Josh Duplantis has been hired by the board of SAWDC AlabamaWorks as its executive director. His first day was Aug. 1.

Josh Duplantis photo

Duplantis has served in community development and outreach at Auburn University, the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of South Alabama. His experiences in higher education and workforce include training on the concept of service-learning, designing modern, flexible workforce training platforms, leadership curriculum design and delivery, professional development and community partnerships. Duplantis has also taught courses on leadership, business and finance in K-12, post-secondary and workforce education.

He holds degrees from Louisiana State University, AU and USM. He has also served on several charitable boards, including Habitat for Humanity and the Exceptional Foundation of the Gulf Coast. Duplantis also volunteers with My Team Triumph.

DeLoach Named Regional Workforce Council Liaison for South Alabama

The Workforce Development Division of the Department of Commerce has named Sherry DeLoach as the Regional Workforce Council liaison for South Alabama. RWC liaisons are responsible for facilitating and maintaining communications between Alabama’s Regional Workforce Councils, business/industry, education and the Department of Commerce. She will work with regions 3 and 7.

Sherry DeLoach portrait

DeLoach has worked at AIDT for almost 15 years, primarily with the Ready-To-Work program in various roles. Most recently, she was a project manager for Apprenticeship Alabama.

DeLoach is a seasoned workforce development professional with a bachelor’s degree from Troy University and an associate’s degree from Alabama Southern Community College.

McGraw Promoted to Business Office Manager

AIDT has promoted Karen McGraw to the position of Business Office Manager. Karen joined AIDT more than 10 years ago as a member of the Administrative Department

Karen McGraw portrait

In her new position as Business Office Manager, she will be responsible for overseeing the AIDT Finance Department, which processes all AIDT financial transactions including training reimbursements, project-based expenses and payroll.

McGraw earned her undergraduate degree from Athens State University. She recently earned her MBA in Finance from Ashford University.

She is also a veteran of the United States Army.

Alabama Breaks Employment Record Again

Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington recently announced that Alabama has broken its employment record for the third month in a row. In July, 2,105,513 people were counted as employed, up from June’s count of 2,098,121, and up from July 2017’s count of 2,077,406, representing a yearly increase of 28,107.

In July, 90,987 people were counted as unemployed, compared to 89,302 in June and 89,858 in July 2017.

“We continue to break employment records in Alabama,” said Washington. “Nearly 30,000 more people are working now than they were last year. The message is clear, Alabama: We have jobs!”

Read more here.

Unemployment numbers displayed on Alabama state map


North Alabama Works logo


  • North Alabama Company Gets $522 Million Contract. Alabama Daily News
  • It’s No Star Wars Fantasy.
  • Rocket City: Space History and Looking Toward the Future. APNews
  • Radiance Technologies Breaks Ground on Huntsville Headquarters.
  • Machine Shop Bringing 30 Jobs to Morgan County. Decatur Daily
  • Woodbridge Alabama Opens Huntsville Plant.
  • Hundreds Line Up to Get a New Job in Huntsville. Rocket City Now
  • STEM Camp Exposes Minority Students to Cybersecurity and Programming.
  • Aderholt Participates in “Made in Alabama” Day at White House. Cullman Times
  • Northwest Alabama Looking to Benefit from Toyota-Mazda Plant. WHNT
  • Governor Ivey: Carpenter Technology Plans on Adding Emerging Technology Center in Limestone County. WHNT
East Alabama Works logo


West Alabama Works logo

Teachers and Others Learn About Local Businesses and Industries

Donny Jones photo

What’s better than showing educators what types of jobs are available in their area than taking them out to the businesses themselves? Well, those opportunities are hard to beat.

The Educators’ Academy, designed to enable the Success Plus path of high school-credential-career, gives teachers, principals, career coaches and others the chance to learn about local jobs, including skills requirements and wages. Participants, in turn, share this information with their students to better inform them of potential career choices that don’t require a four-year degree.

Watch and listen as West AlabamaWorks Director Donny Jones shares more in this video.

Healthcare Field Remains Wide Open for People of All Skill Levels

If you regularly look at the Alabama Department of Labor’s statistics, you will see that healthcare professions, particularly nursing, consistently remain in the top 10 with respect to employer demand.

Recently, West AlabamaWorks’ Healthcare Cluster Chairwoman Peggy Sease, vice president of Human Resources at Druid City Hospital (left), and Lori Royer, DCH HR director (right), spoke with Ford Brown on WYDE  radio to discuss the great opportunities for those who want to be in the healthcare industry.

Radio show hosts sitting around table


Central Six Alabama Works logo

Meeting Unites Business and Education

Central Six AlabamaWorks partnered with Jefferson County Schools to host the first Jefferson County Career and Technical Education Summit on July 18 at the Alabama Workforce Training Center in Birmingham. This partnership was established to enhance the current workforce development efforts at  the K-12 level through the alignment of program curriculum and industry’s standards.

During the event, instructors were informed about regional labor market information, dual -enrollment opportunities through the Alabama Community College System, best practices within Career Technical Education-driven programs and ways to be more effective in reaching students. The most interactive segment of the event was the industry-specific breakout session in which instructors were afforded an opportunity to tour company facilities and directly engage with industry representatives. Through these sessions, industry conveyed the basic technical and soft skills required for careers ranging from entry level to highly skilled positions. Additionally, instructors learned about key areas on which to focus as they prepare students for post-secondary education and/or training leading toward a career.

Moving forward, Central Six plans to host a similar event in each of its six counties to ensure the continued development of the pipeline from the K-12 system into Region 4’s high-demand industries.

Central Six Meeting with people sitting in chairs in a room

Central Six Invites National Fund to Promote Apprenticeships in New Sectors

To help expand apprenticeships in Alabama, Central Six AlabamaWorks invited Dr. Pamela Howze, program director of Work-Based Learning for the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, to Region 4 on July 12-13. The NFWS is a network of workforce professionals and resources that support regional collaboratives in implementing innovative solutions to address workforce issues. As a member of the collaborative, Central Six has access to experts in the workforce arena, including Dr. Howze. In connection with Apprenticeship Alabama, Central Six facilitated Dr. Howze’s visit to encourage employers to consider apprenticeships as a possible solution to their workforce needs, especially in industry sectors where apprenticeship programs are less common, including advanced manufacturing and information technology.

On Thursday, July 12, Central Six coordinated several meetings with Dr. Howze and local employers who were interested in exploring apprenticeship models for their companies. The morning conversation included members from the manufacturing cluster and sparked discussion around the possibility of developing a consortium apprenticeship where multiple employers administer the program together. In the afternoon, Dr. Howze met with Innovate Birmingham and five local Information Technology industry partners about the possibility of developing the first IT apprenticeship in the state of Alabama. Dr. Howze’s visit concluded with her attending Apprenticeship Alabama’s ToolingU event in Birmingham on Friday, July 13.

As an expert in work-based learning models, Dr. Howze provided Central Six’s industry partners with insights and best practices from advanced manufacturing and information technology apprenticeship programs throughout the nation, as well as suggestions on how to create successful programs in Region 4. Based on employer interest and excitement during these preliminary conversations, Central Six will be working with local employers, the NFWS, and Apprenticeship Alabama in the coming months to further explore potential apprenticeship models for the region. Central Six plans to host Dr. Howze as well as a few national leaders in non-traditional apprenticeship models in early October 2018 for a workshop to help employers develop apprenticeships that best serve their workforce needs.

High School Ready to Work Program Launches at Minor High School in Adamsvile

As companies continue to struggle to find skilled labor, Central Six is committed to working with employers to develop solutions that meet their needs. One of the initiatives is focused on developing frontline employees for major industries is the High School Ready-to-Work program. Based on the model started in Region 3, Central Six is partnering with the Onin Group to provide the region’s employers with direct access to talent for their companies. The program is employer-driven, consisting of nearly 20 companies which have partnered to invest in the future workforce by creating the program curriculum, providing tours of their facilities, and mentoring.

The program includes soft-skills training through Ready-to-Work and six weeks of industry-specific curriculum designed to prepare students for careers in high-wage, high-demand fields. The six industry-specific weeks include training in Construction/Skilled Trades, Automotive, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Logistics/Distribution and Hospitality. Following graduation from the program, industry partners will have the opportunity to interview and hire the students interested in going directly into the workforce.

On Monday, Aug. 13, the first High School Ready-to-Work program in Region 4 launched at Minor High School. More than 26 students were handpicked by high school administrators to complete the program, and the school is excited to interact directly with industry. Due to interest from educators throughout Jefferson County, the program is scheduled to expand to three additional high schools in the spring and more in the following school year. Central Six will continue to partner with our industries to ensure they have access to a skilled workforce and engage youth to provide life-changing career opportunities.


Central Alabama Works logo

Ruttan Shares Region’s Endeavors, Accomplishments on Yellowhammer Radio

Recently, Central AlabamaWorks Director Mikki Ruttan sat down with Ford Brown of The Ford Faction to discuss opportunities, cluster meetings and other areas of focus in the 13-county area.

Click WYDE to hear the full conversation.

Mikki Ruttan talking on a radio show


  • Golden State Food Plant Brings Jobs. Opelika-Auburn News
  • Students Experiment at CACC’s Annual STEM Camp. Alex City Outlook
  • Dual Enrollment Option Could be Available to Students. Opelika-Auburn News
Southeast Alabama Works logo

As a first-generation college student, Kayla Farnon relied upon her professors and counselors at Enterprise State Community College to help navigate her college experience. She earned her associate’s degree and then transferred to Faulkner State University.

Farnon has worked in the Alabama governor’s office and is now the communications coordinator for the Alabama League of Municipalities.

Click here to learn more about her experience.

Kayla Farnon portrait


  • Continental Motors Starts Work on New Factory.
  • Grant Connects Seniors With Employers. Dothan Eagle
  • Largest Regional Employer Changes Name. Dothan Eagle
  • Gateway Tire SE Opens Distribution Center. Dothan Eagle
  • School Expands American Character Program. WTVY
  • Alabama Aviation College Gets New Director. WTVY
  • LBW Offers State’s Only CNG Repair Class. Andalusia Star-News
  • Students Learn About Forestry Jobs at LBW Community College. Andalusia Star-News
SAWDC Alabama Works logo

Student Gets Job Just Days After Graduation

Adam Lett portrait

Reid StateTechnical College student Adam Lett received his commercial driver’s license in just 8 weeks from Reid State Technical College.

Only two days later, he was hired by Shoreline Transportation.

Click here to watch and hear Lett’s story.


Statewide Headlines

  • Are Our Graduates Ready for the Next Step?
  • Vocational Education Bill is Good For Alabama. APR
  • State to Roll Out New System. Times-Daily

National Headlines

  • Magazine Names Alabama as One of the Best for Manufacturing. Global Trade
  • July Unemployment Rate Falls. The Randle Report
  • Community Colleges Will Shape Future Workforce. Cities Speak
  • America Has a Re-Skilling Challenge.
  • Must Bring Parents Along in Children’s Education. Educational Excellence
  • President Trump Signs CTE Bill. Education Week

About AlabamaWorks!
AlabamaWorks is a network of interconnected providers of workforce services, including all of the governmental, educational and private-sector components that train, prepare and match job seekers with employers.